The right-arm pacer won Chennai Super Kings a high-stakes encounter against old rivals Royal Challengers Bangalore by nailing those yorkers and defending 19 runs in the final over of a high-scoring thriller in his first IPL 2023 game.
Matheesha Pathirana proves his mettle in IPL 2023
The Sri Lankan U-19 star continues to impress with his bowling performances in the ongoing marquee tournament. He conceded 22 runs from his four overs and picked up a couple of wickets against RCB and followed it up with another economical performance against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
He finished with similar figures of 2/22 in his second match of the season and helped CSK restrict Sunrisers Hyderabad to a below-par 134/7 in 20 overs. With his performances, the youngster is certainly raising his stocks and keeping himself in skipper MS Dhoni’s scheme of things.
MS Dhoni impressed with Pathirana
Dhoni has been judiciously using Pathirana ever since the youngster joined CSK setup in IPL 2022 but the former India skipper and four-time IPL champion had his sights on Pathirana ahead of the 2020 season.
After winning the IPL 2023 match against SRH in Chepauk, MS Dhoni while praising the young Sri Lankan pacer from Kandy, “You need time to pick his action. We have seen with Lasith Malinga – someone who has an awkward action and who is very consistent with line and length – it’s difficult to score off him.”
MS Dhoni spotted Pathirana’s talent early
According to an Indian Express report, Bilal Fassy – who played a crucial role to set up the cricketing structure at Trinity College in Kandy where Pathirana trains – has revealed that Dhoni showed interest in Pathirana way back in 2020.
“He was only 17 or 18 then, and it was the peak of the pandemic when Dhoni wrote a letter asking Pathirana to get vaccinated and join the team in the UAE. He had already played the U-19 World Cup by then (2020) and featured in Bangladesh leagues.
“One of his videos of him demolishing the batsmen with yorkers had gone viral then and that’s when even the Super Kings showed interest in him,” Fassy told the news daily.
Dhoni had seen a video of Pathirana bowling during a school tournament and wanted him to join the CSK setup in the IPL 2020 in the UAE, where CSK finished at the bottom half of the table.
“In the last three years, he has developed a lot. The video that Dhoni saw was not from a first-class game or something, but from a school tournament against (Sanath) Jayasuriya’s school. And very soon even Malinga, who has been coaching a few boys with similar action, started showing interest in Pathirana too.
“Unlike others in the group, what impressed Malinga was Pathirana’s speed and the accuracy he was able to get. He still has to work on his consistency in gaining accuracy, but you can see him gaining confidence,” Fassy added further.
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